Thursday, April 26, 2012

Soulless: The Manga, Volume 1 Review

Soulless: The Manga, Volume 1  
Author/Artist: Gail Carriger/REM
Publisher: Yen Press
American release date: March 1, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Steampunk/224pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: OlderTeen
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Breakfast at the Loontwills’ table includes gossip gleaned from the newspaper, as well as a recap of the previous evening’s ball, which the young ladies attended. The paper reveals that a gruesome discovery was made in the library at that very same ball by an unnamed young lady. Funny, no one remembers any such incident. No one other than Alexia, that is. For she is the young lady in question, the recipient of an unprovoked attack by a starving vampire. Good thing that Alexia Tarabotti is more than she appears to be. She is, in fact, a preternatural!


As if this weren’t bad enough, after dispatching said vampire at said ball, Alexia pretends to faint but no one will leave her alone, and then she finds herself under the scrutiny of two of the gentlemen of B.U.R.—the Bureau of Unnatural Registration—who’ve come to check into things. Alexia gets along very well with Professor Lyall, but Lord Maccon is another matter entirely. They’ve not been on the best of terms ever since a little matter of a hedgehog…

While taking a turn in the park with her best friend, Ivy, Alexia is accosted by an actress with an invitation—to visit a hive! It’s not like the vampires to invite anyone in, so Alexia, concerned as to their motivation, seeks counsel from her vampire friend, the flamboyant Lord Akeldama. Lord A is unsure just what is going on with them; he tells her she needs all the knowledge she can acquire before venturing into enemy territory, and the best source for this would be Lord Maccon. “Use your… feminine wiles upon him” is his suggestion.

Mysterious disappearances of the supernatural kind are becoming too commonplace in London, and both sides are concerned. Alexia is determined to get to the bottom of things, which brings her into closer and closer… contact… with Lord Maccon. And some interesting information is… revealed. But in the process, Alexia finds herself dealing with forces that are determined to use the supernatural for their own purposes.

Will her inquisitive nature pull Alexia in over her head? And will her stubbornness prevent her from seeing what is beneath her very nose? And will Lord Maccon realize that Alexia is not an alpha female werewolf, but a very strong woman who doesn’t play by werewolf rules when it comes to certain matters?

Having read the entire Parasol Protectorate series, I admit to being apprehensive concerning the introduction of the manga. However, my fears were proven to be groundless from the beginning, as I plunged into this graphic presentation of the books and found myself instantly transported into Alexia’s world.

Naturally, not everything was as I saw it in my own mind when I read the books. Alexia is prettier than I think she should be, Lord Maccon fairer and Lord Akeldama more effeminate. But that having been said, I began to enjoy them just the way they’re drawn. Especially Lord Maccon (and thank you, dear REM, for those very lovely images of his backside!) I especially enjoyed the chibi wolf scenes—they were totally adorable!

REM has done a magnificent job of translating Gail Carriger’s words into these very memorable images. I find myself picking up the book and opening it at random and simply re-reading the different scenes. And of course, no one can write Ms. Carriger the way she can. I’m grateful that no attempt was made to find another author for the manga.

Alexia is her usual in-your-face self, which I love. Her family is still loony. Professor Lyall is a lamb (not literally, just figuratively). Lord Akeldama is not just colorful, but he is very intelligent, sensitive, and stronger than he looks (don’t forget, he is vampire). Lord Maccon—what can I say? The man… er, werewolf… is sex on two legs, and where can I get one, please?

All of the spirit of adventure, the wonderful steampunk details so carefully constructed and brought to life, the supernatural mysteries, and the sheer delight that was so characteristic of the books is very much present here. I love the cover, with Alexia’s arms protectively about the snarling black wolf. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Whether you read the books first, and then the manga, or the other way around, be sure to read them all. I’m so looking forward to the next manga. I truly hated to see this one end, despite knowing everything that is to come. Watching it unfold before my very eyes—priceless. Dare I hope that a film is in the future? A girl can dream, right?

1 comment:

  1. chibi wolf scenes and naked Lord Maccon backside? I was considering buying this last week and now I'm kicking myself for leaving them on the shelf!